It was the night after Jon Bon Jovi’s 44th birthday, and you’d swear he wasn’t a day over 25. With more energy than most people half his age, Jon took the Staples Center by storm, belting out arena rock and power ballads for almost three hours straight.
Starting off the set separated from his band and the main stage, the black leather-clad
frontman gave those at the back of the stadium unexpected front row seats. The
show really took off, however, when he traveled through the crowd to the main
stage to detonate an explosion of light and sound.
The tour’s icon, a bright red smiley face with a devilish smirk, was an ironically
welcoming backdrop to the stage. Eventually, the enormous screen projected mostly
close-ups of Jon’s boyish good looks: platinum blonde locks and absolutely
sparkling pearly whites.
Pockets of fans were placed on either side of the stage to gawk, scream and clap
at opportune moments throughout the set, keeping the energy level high. About
a third of the tunes played were relatively new, while over a dozen of the songs
were at least one or two decades old.
The most vivacious moments built-up during Bon Jovi’s mega-hits like "Livin’
on a Prayer," "Bad Medicine" and "Wanted Dead or Alive,"
all of which were saved until the end or encore of the show. Jon’s animated
aerobics back and forth across the large stage stood in stark contrast to his
mostly stationary counterparts who were confined behind their instruments. Though
Jon occasionally played guitar as well, his goofy personality could only truly
shine when he could jump, dance, shake, twirl and gesture at will.
A surprising highlight of the night, however, came from guitarist Richie Sambora’s
lead vocals on "I’ll Be There for You," a somewhat cheesy, yet
moving love song that he co-wrote with Jon in the mid-’90s. Sambora’s
husky, soulful voice genuinely rivaled that of the band’s usual vocals.
Audience members were surprised and enthralled by a two song acoustic portion
of the show that Jon performed right in the middle of a lower level seating section.
Camera phones popped up everywhere, pouncing on him from each angle. On his slow
journey back to stage, once again, Jon graciously high-fived and reached out to
as many people as possible. Even when some of the more rabid fans tried to tear
him apart, Jon continued to sing in a cool and collected manner.
The sold out world tour is in support of Bon Jovi’s ninth studio album, titled
Have a Nice Day, which, in less than six months, has already gone multi-platinum.
Though most of the band’s recent press has either been for its Top 10 Country
duet "Who Says You Can’t Go Home" or for Sambora’s sudden
breakup with wife Heather Locklear, Bon Jovi’s members are rock stars through
and through. They are unstoppable and will undoubtedly continue to make hits that
will be remembered for years to come.
To this day, is there anyone who can’t finish the phrase "Shot through
the heart, and you’re to blame …?"
Don’t think so.
Music: Live Show Reviews [Bon Jovi]
Bon Jovi: March 3 @ Staples Center
By Christina Johnson
Article posted on 3/13/2006
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